Normani Talks Colorism, Michelle Obama, and Learning to Love Her Skin

normani racism
credit: @grace_pei/Instagram

Normani is finally learning to be at peace with who she is and sees the beauty in herself, inside and out.

The recording artist recently gave a peek inside her journey of self-discovery in an article for Allure, where she reflected on the experiences that have made her who she is. She said,

“I think I’m just discovering who I am, to be quite honest. And it’s not me in contest with anybody else; it’s me in competition with myself.”

That discovery includes a rumination on race, in which Normani recalled her time in Fifth Harmony as the only African-American member, and how that negatively affected her sense of self.  These insecurities took root in Normani’s childhood, where she grew up as one of the few Black girls in school. She said,

“I was one of three little Black kids in the whole school and I remember asking my mom to straighten my hair, wishing my eyes were a little bit lighter because that was the standard. Every Black girl should be able to look at the television screen and see herself as beautiful.”

She credits her family for providing a positive and loving support system, often reminding the singer of the beauty inherent within herself. It was also fortunate that growing up, Normani had some famous role models to look up to that imbued her with a sense of self-worth and aspiration — women that looked like her.

“Naomi Campbell was such a huge part of my childhood, and me being able to look at one of the biggest supermodels in the whole entire world — not only being a Black woman but being a woman with a similar complexion to me. Colorism is a whole other thing. Musically, Kelly Rowland is the mother of chocolate girls. I don’t know if you saw her latest video, “Coffee” — she looks stunning. And Michelle Obama. The fact that a first lady can be not only a Black woman, but a Black woman that looks like me, that is typically at the bottom of the totem pole in terms of having the conversation about beauty standards.”

She was quick to express that, despite having come a long way, the performer is still discovering who she is.

Normani is a burgeoning artist that could be on the cusp of something great; she already has loyal fans on Twitter that call themselves The Nation, many of whom have been rooting for her since Fifth Harmony. Those who have followed her feel that she has endured a lot in her short time as a singer — while she was still a member, “fans” of  Fifth Harmony would make cruel racist and malicious remarks about her on Twitter, which escalated after it was uncovered that former bandmate and now solo artist Camila Cabello made racist comments directed at her on social media while they were both still in the group. The Nation doesn’t just want her to win, they want Normani to overcome and to lay waste to the cruel past on the path to a brighter future.

Thankfully, Normani appears to have her head in the game. She’s concentrating on self-care and getting to know herself. Though she has encountered many unpleasant circumstances along the way, they seem to have only served to make her stronger. Normani isn’t fixated on who she was, Normani is focused on who she is. The racial experiences she’s faced do not define her and instead of dwelling on them, she’s looked to her inspirations for strength. Now that she has embraced the beauty queen inside herself, we should all heed her advice to do the same.


Normani is Ready to Add Some Melanin to Pop Music

Ashley Turner
Ashley is a Blerd and pop culture glutton with a penchant for video games. She is a freelance writer, whose articles have appeared in Black Girl Nerds and Screen Rant. Life is happiest for her when she's able to indulge in her childhood hobby, by putting pen to page.